Tuesday, July 28, 2009

elliott museum and the house of refuge.

On July 24th, which happens to be Pioneer Day in Utah, we made another long, boring trip to the VA. Terry's appointment was first thing in the morning, and it was a short one, so we had the whole day left. I was antsy to do something fun, but we didn't want to spend alot of money, and Terry nixed my beach idea right away. Then I remembered this place that my mom took me to when I was little. I made a quick call to my parents, and my dad told me how to get there. The place was called The House of Refuge, and just down the street from that was the Elliott Museum, so you could tour both places at a two-for-one price. We were delighted!

We went to The House of Refuge first, located right on a strip of land that falls right between the beach AND the river on Hutchinson Island. The beach there is rocky, so the waves look so cool crashing into the rocks. And there was a movie being filmed there! It was neat. We took the tour, and learned that there were several "houses of refuge" located up and down the Treasure Coast of Florida. Back in the day, there was one person who stayed there, called a "keeper," and it was their job to look up and down the coast after a storm for shipwrecks and sailors who were lucky enough to survive and make it to the beach. They would then take the sailors in, feed them, clothe them, and nurse any wounds. It was a difficult and lonely job, but if not for them, the shipwrecked men would have had no hope. Today the house that we toured is the only one that is still standing, and I feel lucky to have seen it once more. And while I sort of forgot that it was Pioneer Day, I was happy later on to realize that I had taught my children a little something about some of the pioneers in Florida.

We next made our way to the Elliott Museum, where the learning of more pioneers continued! Named after the man who I presume started the museum, he contributed greatly to its contents, as many of the items inside were his. The special display was all about the circus, and there were tons of miniature circus events placed throughout the first room. As we traveled through the rest of the museum, we saw an old general store, an old-fashioned kitchen, and even a whole collection of old baseball cards and a baseball, complete with autographs from people such as Joe Dimaggio. Then at the end of the tour, there is a garage filled with cars, ranging from the first early models right through 1975. It was amazing to look at how vehicles have changed! There were even electric cars, which I hadn't realized had been invented so long ago.

All in all it turned out to be a very educational, fun-filled day. I am so happy that we thought of something fun to do as a family, and the fact that it all ended up happening on Pioneer Day made it even better.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the fourth of july.

The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love America and everything it stands for, and I love the spirit that this holiday brings out in people. Terry is especially fond of it too, seeing as how he served our country in the United States Air Force.

Last year we were a little disappointed with the way the day turned out, because we had been spoiled by all the festivities that occur in Utah, whereas Florida doesn't seem to do much of anything. So we went to Aunt Hilary and Uncle Rob's house in Hobe Sound, because they have a huge party that half the town comes to, and Rob puts on a display of fireworks that is so big, you'd think it was put on by the town in their own back yard! Patriotic music blares as the fireworks are lit from the backyard, while the spectators sit in the front yard and watch them burst high in the sky. It really was awesome and we had a great time there, but when we left we got about a mile down the road and realized that someone had made a HUGE crack in our windshield, the size of a #10 can, completely circular! I have no idea how it was done, but since the whole town was present, there was no way of knowing who did it. Well, we got the windshield replaced, but it wasn't the same after because it would leak water and the job just wasn't done right, even though the company came twice to repair it. Lucky for us, we ended up selling that van to my parents (hehehe). Sorry mom and dad!

This year we didn't want to risk that one again! Our ward was having a BBQ on the beach, so we went. It was a BLAST! So fun! The beach was perfect that day. The water was clear and calm-flat, but not too flat. Beautiful. The food was great and the girls had a ball digging in the sand, splashing in the water, and throwing water balloons at people. We stayed for a few hours and then decided to leave, since most of the members had already left and Terry was getting hot. But then on our way home we remembered that one of Terry's old high school buddies was going to be in town, and he and his family usually throw a big party at Riverside Park, where the town does fireworks. We found him, and had yet more food and fun. The girls played with another little girl that was there and went swimming in her little pool. Terry and I talk to all who stopped by, and when the fireworks finally went off, it was gorgeous. Nothing like good old "Stadium of Fire" of course, but it was a nice show for this small town.

Now, this may seem like the perfect day, especially when hearing about last year's events, but it didn't start that way. Let me give you some background information. Sometime last year (I can't remember exactly when), Trinity was playing in her room and then came to us, saying she had something in her nose and needed help getting it out. We thought it was just a big booger, but no, it turned out to be a bead! She is a very smart little girl, so we couldn't understand why she would have done such a thing, but she did. Needless to say, we couldn't get it out, so we had to go to the emergency room. We took her to a small hospital that is in the town just next to us, because frankly, the one here stinks. So it was a bit of a drive, but we were glad we went there. The staff was quick to get us in and everyone was very nice. And it turned out that a member of our ward was there and he was the one who worked on Trinity! He couldn't work the bead out either, so he made up this little vacuum, out of some tubing and I don't know what, and stuck it up her nose. Soon after the bead emerged! Hooray for happy endings. Back to the present--wouldn't you know, our youngest daughter Natalie did the EXACT same thing on the 4th of July?! She came to me and said she had something in her nose, right when we were about to walk out of the house and head down to the ward party. I thought "Oh boy. Here we go again." Thankfully, I WAS able to maneuver the bead out of her nose this time. I swear, there is really NEVER a dull moment at the Mann house.

Monday, July 20, 2009

butterfly birthday.

On July 18, 2005, my unplanned blessing whom we call Natalie Elise was born. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with two children. I was still getting used to my first child when I found out I was pregnant with my second. I had a very hard time adjusting, but after a couple months I was so in love that it didn't matter anymore. Today I know that Natalie was sent to me from my Heavenly Father for a purpose. She was meant to come to our family, I am sure of it. I love her so much and she will forever be my baby.

Flash-forward four years and here we are, celebrating Natalie's fourth birthday! I can't believe how fast time has gone. She loves mermaids and princesses, Hello Kitty and butterflies, and she decided that she wanted to have a "butterfly birthday." So we had our family and neighbors over and had a yummy meal of sloppy joes (courtesy of grammy Tina, who makes the best sloppy joes ever!), potato salad, and of course, a butterfly cake, made by me. I tried my best, but it really didn't come out as good as I had envisioned it. But the party was a success and most importantly, the birthday girl had "the best birthday ever!", so she said.

Gifts included a butterfly drawn by Great-gramma Hildy, a Disney Princess lunchbox, a Barbie that allows you to "cut" and style her hair, and her favorite, her very own Leapster 2! Trinity has had one for a couple years now, but they always fight over it, so we decided it was time to buy Natalie her own, and we got a great deal on e-bay. This kid also cleaned up in the cash department, getting a total of $15 for her birthday! She knew just what to do with it--buy her Barbie doll a prince charming, of course! So a couple days after her birthday we went to Target and purchased a very handsome "wedding" Ken doll, who looks like the perfect prince charming.

I love this little girl so much and am so happy she came to our family. Happy fourth birthday, Natalie! Thank you for being my baby girl.